Vijay Iyer Trio: Break Stuff

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COMPOSERS: Vijay Iyer Trio
WORKS: Break Stuff
PERFORMER: Stephan Crump (bass), Marcus Gilmore (drums) etc
CATALOGUE NO: 470 8937


This showcase for Iyer’s long-standing trio is inspired by a love of great rhythm sections, from saxist Charlie Parker’s via soul singer James Brown’s through to hip-hop. Regarding the disc’s title Break Stuff, Iyer observes ‘the break is a span of time in which to act’ and one recalls the jazz device that found its apotheosis in Parker’s legendary ‘Famous Alto Break’, where a musical fragment epitomises that moment when an improviser leaps into the unknown, abandoning the safety of a composition.

Don’t run off with the idea that this is beat-heavy bluster. Pulses are important, but there is considerable rhythmic subtlety in support of harmonic inventiveness, sinuously unpredictable melodic development and beautiful keyboard textures. Several tunes use the rhythmic components of earlier pieces, which the trio uses to create fresh works.
This album can only strengthen Iyer’s already substantial reputation.


Barry Witherden